The third Monday of June is Ride to Work Day. It's a day that celebrates the joys of motorcycle riding. It's also an ideal day to remind fleet drivers why and how to safely share the road with motorcyclists. During the summer months, they will be encountering more motorcyclists on the roads — both in rural and urban areas.
Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the number of motorcycle fatalities dropped from a high in 2016 of 5,286 down to 5,172 in 2017, the proportion of motorcyclist fatalities relative to all traffic-related fatalities has more than doubled over the past two decades.
Simply put, in a collision, motorcyclists are more vulnerable than vehicle drivers. That said, both motorcyclists and drivers have a responsibility to safely share the road. Experts offer the following advice to drivers:
Motorcycles are narrow and drivers may not see them as they can hide behind other objects or in your blind spot. Because they are not always visible, drivers should be aware they may be hidden and look twice.
Extra Caution When Changing Lanes
Again, because your blind spot could hide a biker, make sure to look over your left shoulder whenever changing lanes.
Leave Safe Following Distance
Never tailgate a motorcyclist. Bikes accelerate and brake faster than cars—so getting too close can be quite dangerous. Experts advise leaving at least 3 to 4 seconds of following distance.
When passing a motorcycle, make sure to give them at least three feet of space.
Understand the Lack of Lights
Motorcyclists sometimes use the throttle versus the brake—so you may not even see brake lights. It's important to be aware of this. In addition, taillights on a motorcycles are very small and always on, so they may be difficult to see when the biker brakes.
Beware of Left Turns
Use extra caution when making left turns. Many collisions occur when a cyclist is going straight and an impatient car driver makes a rapid left turn and fails to see the motorcycle.
Research shows that distracted driving is one of the most common causes of all collisions. Keep the cell phone packed away, avoid all other distractions, and focus all your attention on the road.